If you are dealing with chronic back pain, lumbar instability, disc degeneration, or failed back surgery, minimally invasive lumbar fusion may be recommended to deliver long-term pain relief. The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia offers minimally invasive spinal fusion for men and women in Brunswick and Kingsland, GA.
What is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion?
Lumbar fusion is a surgical procedure that fuses or joins two or more vertebrae in the lumbar spine and can be done with minimally invasive techniques using a very small incision. If you have a condition that causes the vertebrae or bones of your spine to move against each other more than normal, it may cause pain when surrounding muscles, ligaments, and nerves are stretched. This procedure uses grafted bone to create one solid bone rather than individual bones in the treated section of the spine to stabilize the spine.
Many people who need lumbar fusion also have a pinched nerve from spinal stenosis. This procedure can be performed in conjunction with spinal stenosis surgery.
How is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion Surgery Performed in Brunswick?
This procedure is performed through a very small, one-inch incision to access the spine while under general anesthesia. Special tools are used to push away muscle and access the vertebrae. These tools are called tubular dilators, which expand to move aside muscle and soft tissue to create a tunnel. A tubular retractor holds these tunnels open during the surgery. An endoscope may be used to visualize the vertebrae and radiographic imaging may also be used to help guide the surgeon.
In some cases, the disc will be exposed and removed before the vertebrae are fused. The vertebral end plates are exposed and a bone graft is placed between the two bones. This bone graft should heal to form a bridge of bone connecting the two vertebrae. Titanium screws are placed with connecting rods to ensure the treated vertebrae no longer move during the healing process.
In most cases, the bone graft for minimally invasive lumbar fusion in Brunswick is obtained from your hip bone. This is called an iliac crest graft. Cadaver bone or local bone may sometimes be appropriate.
Who is a Good Candidate for Lumbar Fusion?
Lumbar spinal fusion can be used to treat many conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Lumbar instability
- Lumbar disc degeneration
- Vertebral fractures
- Recurrent herniated discs
- Failed back surgery
- Spinal arthritis
You may be a good candidate for this minimally invasive procedure if you have not had a lumbar fusion surgery before, you are a healthy weight, and you do not have a spinal deformity. Because not all conditions and patients can be treated with a minimally invasive spinal fusion, the best way to find out if you are a candidate is by scheduling a consultation with the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia.
What is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion Recovery Like?
Most patients require a brief hospital stay of just one to three days. During the first month or two, it’s important to stay active but avoid strenuous activity as the bone heals. You can gradually return to normal activities after the initial healing stage. Physical therapy a few weeks after lumbar fusion can help improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles of the back. You may have some reduced range of motion of the fused segment of the spine after the surgery, but this is expected.
Minimally invasive lumbar fusion can significantly reduce or solve pain from issues like lumbar instability and chronic disc herniation of the lumbar region. To find out if you can benefit from lumbar fusion, schedule a consultation with the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia today. We welcome patients in Kingsland and Brunswick, Georgia with innovative pain relief solutions for short-term and long-term relief.